Lukewarm Stove: How Far Would You Go for Rendon? Marte-Cubs Mentions, Grandal, Sogard, More

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Lukewarm Stove: How Far Would You Go for Rendon? Marte-Cubs Mentions, Grandal, Sogard, More

Chicago Cubs

I’ve been pretty clear in my desire to see the Cubs sign Anthony Rendon this offseason, but I haven’t yet been able to identify “my” financial limit for such a deal (which I bring up not as a guardian of the Ricketts family’s money, but as a realist who knows there’s a budget the team will honor, making no comment on the goodness or badness of that).

And given that Rendon would be one of the Cubs’ largest free-agent signings ever (probably more than Jon Lester, but maybe less than Jason Heyward), it’s worth giving it some serious consideration. After all, Mookie Betts is a free agent next winter, which likely means our Boston-led front office is already drooling, and there are all those impending internal free agents in the next couple years.

So seriously ask yourself, how far would you go?

  • On the one hand, Rendon is still 29 years old, is coming off his best season ever, and has posted three straight 6.0+ WAR campaigns (four overall in his career). On the other hand, he dealt with leg injuries in the past, he very likely peaked in 2019, he finally won the World Series (still got that #hunger?), and to the extent marketability factors into the financial equation …

  • Like it or not, it helps when your $200M+ free agents have the sort of personalities that can sell cable subscriptions, jerseys, bobbleheads, tickets, and beer.
  • Well, all of those things may be legitimate factors, but I gotta say … after reading Mike Petriello’s latest at MLB.com, I just don’t care. Sign me up. Right now. Whatever it takes. Looking backwards through history, Petriello was able to find nine comparable players to Rendon (five of whom happen to be Hall-of-Famers) and it is looking GOOD for the rest of his career: “Over the next five years, barring serious injury, there’s very little precedent for a third baseman as productive as Rendon to fail to continue to produce.” Check out the article for the nitty-gritty, but in short: he gonna be good.

  • More on his expected price tag down below.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
  • In our last Lukewarm Stove, we discussed Pirates center fielder Starling Marte as a potential Cubs trade target this offseason, because MLB.com’s Matt Kelly suggested as much. Well now, Kelly is not alone:

  • To be clear both Kelly and Heyman – who are two very different, unrelated sources – aren’t exactly saying the Cubs will have interest *in Marte,* but rather *in a center fielder,* of which Marte is one available this offseason. In other words, the intra-divisional caveats still apply. With that said, the Mets, Reds, and Cubs have now appeared on both lists, so I think it’s fair to say this is at least something to watch for now.
  • If the Cubs wanted to get crazy this offseason, trading Willson Contreras (for a #haul) and signing Yasmani Grandal (an offensive force, legitimate pitch-framer, and former Milwaukee Brewer not tied to draft pick compensation) would be one way to do it:

  • Even if I didn’t already expect Grandal to continue to be excellent, that’s a pretty big piece of the puzzle for any team out there that lands him.
  • This is mostly unrelated to the Cubs, in that no matter what happens I don’t think they’ll be involved with Aroldis Chapman again:

  • Of course, if Chapman does opt-out and the Yankees can’t re-sign him right away, that would give the market another high-end relief option, which could be good news for a Cubs team that could use one of their own (the more options out there, the greater likelihood you bring one home).
  • The Rangers traded for Wellington Castillo and $250K in international slot money, but are buying out Castillo’s contract for $500K, which means they really just wanted to pay $500K for the right to spend another $250K on international prospects:

  • Matthew Pouliot took a look at the top 111 free agents of the offseason, whom he ranked by expected price tag … and that comes with a surprise. For Anthony Rendon, Pouliot suggested that a “win-now team could still go to $150 million for five years,” as if that were the ceiling of a contract he might get this winter, which … I don’t know about that, man. I do recall Rendon possibly wanting a shorter-term, higher average annual value deal, but I’d guess there are 10 teams that *should* love to have him on that deal – including the Cubs. The counter, of course, is that as more and more teams pretend to fear the competitive balance tax (eh hem … Cubs), there’s only a handful of teams that realistically *could* afford to pay him $30M in AAV.
  • Relatedly (from the same piece), Pouliot guesses that Nicholas Castellanos’ finish with the Cubs could help his chances of getting $20M/year, but he’s not sure if the “total package is worth it.” We talked about mutual interest in a reunion earlier today.
  • They’ll have to make the money really work (as always), but the Rays apparently have interest in bringing back free agent Eric Sogard, who was a rumored Cubs trade target at the deadline and could be a lower-cost free agent target this offseason. Sogard hit .290/.353/.457 (115 wRC+) last season, primarily playing second base.
  • I’ll have more on Didi Gregorius as a potential Cubs free agent target later, but this is important to note in the meantime:

  • 26th man anybody?



Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is the butler to a wealthy werewolf off the coast of Wales and a writer at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami